SCUBA Divers Safety Guide to Responsible Cylinder Care
Take good care of your cylinder!
Although scuba cylinders have been designed to exceed stringent performance and safety standards, it’s up to you to ensure that your cylinder is always kept in peak condition by carefully following these recommendations for continued care and maintenance.
By taking care of your cylinder you’ll be rewarded with many years of safe, trouble-free service
- Protect it from damage and never abuse or modify it
- Neglecting the cylinder could result in irreversible deterioration and a potential threat to personal safety
- Wash your cylinder in fresh water and dry after each use
For new cylinders
- Ensure that your cylinder is fitted with a compatible valve and associated components.
- When using oxygen-enriched air, oxygen or nitrox mixtures, ensure that the cylinder is fitted with an oxygen or nitrox-compatible valve assembled with an oxygen-compatible o-ring and lubricant.
- Establish that the filling facility is suitable for providing a controlled oxygen-enriched air-fill, which must be totally free from oil carry-over and loose particulate.
- If there’s no assurance that the valve, o-ring and lubricant used is oxygen compatible or that the filling conditions conform, Manufacturers recommend that you don’t fill the cylinder until oxygen suitability is confirmed.
- If you choose a standard air-fill only but decide to switch to an oxygen-enrich fill at a later date, remember to ensure that your cylinder is oxygen-clean and that your valve and associated accessories are oxygen-compatible and clean.
For continued use of the cylinder
- Check that the cylinder is within its re-test period.
- NEVER fill a cylinder that’s outside its re-test period.
- Visually examine the cylinder for evidence of damage from previous use or transportation. If in doubt (ie the cylinder shows signs of ANY damage) take it to a re-test station for an expert opinion and/or hydro-testing.
- Determine if the cylinder shows external corrosion from poor storage, particularly after lengthy storage. If corrosion is evident, take the cylinder to a re-test station for an expert opinion and/or hydro-testing.
- An appropriate valve (with the correct thread) should be torqued into the cylinder using calibrated torque wrenches with correctly fitting engagement heads.
Care and maintenance of your new cylinder
Your life depends on your cylinder so always treat it with care and respect!
- Keep your cylinder in top condition by following these common-sense guidelines:
- Always secure your cylinder safely when in transit – a dry wooden box or sturdy cardboard container is ideal.
- Prevent the cylinder from rolling about – any impact could damage the shell by indenting, scratching, gouging, scoring or chipping off protective paint finishes.
- Do NOT throw the cylinder onto sand or ground – it may impact against a hidden hard object that could cause damage.
- Take care to avoid dropping your cylinder – as well as damaging an empty cylinder, dropping a charged cylinder could shear the valve.
- Prevent the cylinder from being exposed to direct sunlight or where the sun is directed through windows or clear glass roofing.
- Keep your cylinder cool. Filled cylinders that become warm (up to 60°C) could result in breathing difficulties due to the temperature of the contained gas. Never expose your cylinder to temperatures in excess of 60°C.
Cleaning and storage
After use, thoroughly wash the outside and boot assembly with clean water containing mild soap or detergent, rinse off and wipe dry with a towel. It is advisable to remove the cylinder from its backpack and the boot for regular cleaning.
- Keep the threads and cylinder interior dry and free from contamination of any sort.
- ALWAYS ensure your cylinder maintains a slight positive pressure up to 20 bar.
- NEVER store the cylinder on bare concrete or any surface that may hold moisture.
- Cylinders used as part of a buoyancy aid must be washed in fresh water and thoroughly dried after each use.
Testing check list
- ALWAYS ensure your cylinder is re-tested every 5 years.
- ALWAYS ensure that the cylinder attachments are maintained, serviced, inspected and handled in strict accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
- If the painted surface is damaged do not ignore it! Clean the area with fine wire wool and touch up the damage with a room-temperature air-drying aluminum primer followed by a room temperature drying gloss paint.
- Do not use paints with a curing temperature above ambient. For further information contact the manufacturer.
- Do not attempt to remove a damaged paint surface with abrasive wheels, files, shot-blasting or aggressive chemicals. This may reduce the wall thickness making the cylinder unsafe for pressure storage.
- Do not leave valves open after use. This allows moist-air intake that can cause internal corrosion.
- If using stainless steel fixtures as a backpack clamp – coat with a suitable plastic to insulate from the aluminum.
The markings stamped on the neck of your cylinder contain important information which should be referred to when re-testing or filling.
NEVER alter or obscure the cylinder markings!
NEVER fill or partially fill your cylinder with Oxygen, Oxygen mixtures or Nitrox unless the cylinder and valve have been properly cleaned and maintained for these mixtures!